Found a cat in your Big Island neighborhood? 

Aa Oasis Brown Tabby Cat Approaching Food - Help a Found Cat

Here’s what to do if you find a free-roaming cat in Hawaii

With estimates exceeding the human population of the Big Island, it is possible that you will come across a free-roaming cat outside your home or in your neighborhood. A free-roaming cat, or community cat, is any cat that doesn’t have a home. If you find a free-roaming cat, there are some steps you can take that are best for the feline, your neighborhood, and ultimately our island. Keep reading to find out how to best help a found kitten or cat in Hawaii.

Help, I Found a Cat! 

If you find a cat or kitten that is sick, injured, or in immediate danger, Hawaii County Animal Control considers this a Priority 1 call.  During business hours, the public should call Animal Control at 808.327.3558, and after hours (from 4:30 pm to 7:45 am), call Police Dispatch at 808.935.3311.  

Contain & Scan

If you find a healthy cat, keep the found cat contained if possible until you can get it scanned for a microchip. If you find a healthy kitten, that’s a different story. Click here to learn more about helping a found kitten or keep reading.

If the cat’s ears have a tip, basically a squarish tip shape rather than the usual pointed shape, it will most likely have a microchip. Contact your local vet or a non-profit rescue organization like Aloha Animal Oasis (AAO) about having the cat scanned for free. You just might get to be part of reuniting a lost pet with their family! 

Check with Neighbors

If the cat is particularly friendly, there’s a good chance it has a home (but no guarantee). Just do your due diligence and try to find the cat’s family before you take it in. Don’t be a kit-napper! Lost pets are usually found within a mile of their home, so take the time to walk around your neighborhood, ask neighbors if they’re missing a pet, and look for “missing pet” flyers.

Post Online & Around Town

If that doesn’t work, you can always post your own sign in your neighborhood and at local markets, coffee shops, retail stores, and veterinarian offices to help in possibly reuniting the cat with its family.

There are also many online options for reuniting a lost cat with its family! Use Petco Love to report a pet as found. To help match a lost report, upload photos of the cat that are clear, and include the date, time, and general location where it was found, as well as the best way to contact you.

As scams are always a risk online, avoid posting your phone number and share your email address instead. And check Petco Lost regularly for updates. 

You can also post on social media, including Nextdoor and Facebook, in groups like Big Island Cats, Big Island Lost, Missing and Found Pets, Big Island Pets Lost and Found, Big Island Lost, Found, Stolen Pets, Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance (HAKA), and other groups. Be sure to include the same information you used for the Petco report when you post to these groups. 

Security and Shelter

If you find a free-roaming cat that is relatively healthy, some food and water will go a long way. Put out some food and a bowl of clean water twice a day. And make sure the cat has someplace dry and warm to sleep, safe from the elements. If possible, place a fleece blanket or even a soft towel on your lanai.  

Spay or Neuter

If the free-roaming cat doesn’t have a chip and it has NOT been spayed or neutered, your next step is to plan to get it fixed. Thinking about trapping the cat to do this? Be sure you have a plan in place BEFORE you even get a trap set up. Cats are incredibly smart and once you trap one, you won’t be able to pull that off again! Connect with us or any one of the local non-profit organizations below for help with this step:


Traps can be loaned out by contacting Aloha Animal Oasis at We also offer a Pay What You Canspay and neuter clinic for the public. Once the found cat has been spayed or neutered, it’s on to the last step! And after we talk a little more about found kittens and fixed pets, we’ll get to the fun part. 

Found Kittens

If the cat you found is a kitten, it will require a little different handling. Here’s a helpful chart for determining the best way to care for a found kitten:

Found Kitten

Kitten Care. Without mom to care for them, these kittens need your help! Neonatal kittens especially require round-the-clock care, including bottle-feedings. You can learn more about kitten care by visiting Kitten Lady

Keep with Mom. If they are doing well, let the kittens stay with mom outdoors. When they are ready, arrange trap-neuter-return (TNR) for all of them. 

Find a Home. After you have the kittens spayed or neutered, it’s time to find foster homes where the kittens can be socialized to people. At Aloha Animal Oasis (AAO), we help socialize kittens so they are ready to be adopted by the public. All animals adopted out via AAO will be spayed/neutered if they haven’t been already, microchipped, and vaccinated before adoption. Adopters will be screened and evaluated to ensure appropriate pet placement. Contact us for further information on our Adoption Program.  

Or consider saving a life and bringing joy into your home by adopting one or two of the kittens you found! 

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). If for any reason, a kitten cannot be socialized, it can still live a long, healthy outdoor life in Hawaii. Contact us to get the kitten fixed and vaccinated before returning it to the location where it was trapped.

Tnr Kitten

Fixed Cats

Whether found outdoors or adopted by your family, there are so many reasons to get a cat spayed/neutered. Here are the top reasons:

  • Hawaii Island rescue organizations are at capacity and there is still an overpopulation of free-roaming cats.
  • Cats are generally less aggressive following spay/neuter.
  • In males, it reduces roaming, urine spraying and fights with neighborhood cats, and keeps your neighborhood more peaceful! 
  • In females, this prevents a big problem… Female kittens as young as four months old can become pregnant themselves and have four litters a year. 
  • It reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases of the reproductive organs.
  • Fixed cats mean less free-roaming cats that pose a threat to our island’s precious native wildlife.

One Unspayed Cat Overpopulation

To be part of the solution, visit the Aloha Animal Oasis Spay & Neuter Clinic page for upcoming “Pay What You Can” spay and neuter clinic dates. Reservations are required and traps can be requested with a refundable deposit.

Already have a pet cat?

Please make sure they are fixed! If you have a pet cat and for some reason you are no longer able to provide a home for it, please connect with us for help rehoming it. Never abandon a cat or dump it somewhere. The State of Hawaii considers “abandoning” an animal as animal abuse and classifies the act as a criminal offense! 

Planning on getting a cat? 

That’s exciting news! There are so many cats on our island who are just waiting to find their forever home. But please, only adopt a cat if you plan on making it a permanent part of your family. 

It Takes an Island

If you’re new to Hawaii Island or you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood and notice free-roaming cats everywhere, the worst thing you can do is look away and assume it’s someone else’s problem. Since we live on the most isolated populated landmass on the planet, we all have a part to play in caring for our island and the people, animals, and plants that call it home. And part of caring for the Big Island is taking action when we see a free-roaming cat. 

Don’t look away! It’s our kuleana, our responsibility, to help reduce the number of cats living outdoors by spaying/neutering the ones we feed and by finding homes for friendly cats and kittens. And that furever home might just be the one they wandered up to… yours!

At Aloha Animal Oasis, we’re here to give our island’s cats a chance for a loving home. Please contact us today.